The conference was hoping to shake the label of being too slow and conservative while silencing some of the #B1G jokes that have become an all-too-common occurrence on college football Saturdays.
With three nationally televised games in primetime slots, the thought was Michigan State vs. Oregon, Michigan vs. Notre Dame, and Virginia Tech vs. Ohio State would show the best teams of the Big Ten were legitimate national championship contenders.
Instead, everything went wrong in a day the conference will be trying to get over for the next few years.
While most of the attention was intended to be on the league for the primetime games, it was actually a disastrous day for the league without the results of those three contests.
In some of the other Big Ten games of the day, Nebraska had to have a fantastic touchdown run by Ameer Abdullah in the final minute to avoid going to overtime against McNeese State, Iowa had to score 14 unanswered points in the fourth quarter to get a 17-13 win over Ball State, Northwestern lost at home to Northern Illinois, and Purdue was blown out at home by Central Michigan.
As if this wasn’t bad enough, things got even worse in the spotlight games.
In my opinion, Michigan State had a decent showing on the road at Oregon. Although the final score was 46-27, the Spartans and Ducks battled for three quarters before Oregon pulled away with 14 fourth quarter points. I think Michigan State deserves more credit for three strong quarters against Oregon than other power conference teams who dominated opponents that were just paid to show up and take a beating.
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However, there’s simply no excuse for what happened with Ohio State and Michigan.
The Wolverines were shut out for the first time since 1984 with a 31-0 loss to Notre Dame in South Bend. It was also Michigan’s worst loss in the history of the series with the Irish, which will now no longer be an annual meeting for the two schools.
After Saturday night, I’m not sure Michigan wants anything to do with Notre Dame for the foreseeable future.
Then, in perhaps the biggest blow of the day to the Big Ten, Ohio State was outclassed in every way in Columbus by an unranked Virginia Tech team.
The Buckeyes were dominated in the first half and trailed 21-7 at halftime. It looked like they’d seized the momentum after tying the game at 21, but the Hokies rallied with an impressive 65-yard touchdown drive to take a 28-21 lead with 8:44 left to play.
This allowed the Virginia Tech defense to tee off on Ohio State quarterback JT Barrett, who struggled for much of the night and was sacked seven times and threw three interceptions, including a pick-six in the final minute that sealed the victory for the Hokies.
It was the second straight week of disappointing offense for Ohio State, and Urban Meyer must now quickly get things turned around for the Buckeyes, who likely have already eliminated themselves from the playoff discussion.
The Big Ten simply doesn’t get these opportunities very often. To have multiple marquee match-ups occurring on the same day early in the season, this was a chance to show this league is a factor that doesn’t get the respect it deserves.
Instead, it was the complete opposite.
All of the ideas about the Big Ten being overrated and undeserving of respect looked 100-percent justified. And even if that isn’t true, the perception is now stronger than ever.
It was supposed to be a big weekend, but it turned out to be a #B1G mess.
Did you watch the Big Ten this weekend? Which team was the most disappointing? Leave a comment and let me know your thoughts.